National award for Worcester Cathedral’s Undercroft Learning Centre

Worcester Cathedral

Worcester Cathedral is celebrating scooping a national award for architectural excellence, as its Undercroft Learning Centre is awarded the 2022 Civic Trust AABC Conservation Award.

In collaboration with Banbury-based Acanthus Clews Architects, the conversion of the Cathedral’s former monastic storage rooms into the new Undercroft Learning Centre provides a new venue for learning and discovery.

The Civic Trust Awards scheme was established in 1959 to recognise outstanding architecture, planning and design in the built environment.

In awarding the accolade, the Judges commented on the project: “A challenging and well resolved scheme, the project addressed complicated access to the vault, allowing it to be opened-up and appreciated by a wide audience. Technical challenges associated with archaeology, environmental conditions in the space and ensuring the former monastic refectory cellar maintained its integrity was a colossal task and one that has been expertly executed.”

Worcester Cathedral 2Camilla Finlay, Director at Acanthus Clews Architects, said: “Receiving this award from the Civic Trust is so important because it is given to projects that demonstrate the highest level of building conservation – this is the level all involved in the project strove to deliver in the conversion of the scheduled Undercroft. The Civic Trust awards also celebrate accessibility and inclusivity which was at the heart of our work in creating a centre for learning in the Undercroft – to provide an invitation that we hope will reach new audiences to come and share the spaces and activities that take place within.”

Daniel Parnell, Director of Learning at Worcester Cathedral, added: “The aim of the Undercroft project was for the centre to play a decisive role in maintaining the education department’s existing status as a beacon of excellence in educational outreach and a model of best practice.

“We are hugely honoured to be given this award that recognises the uniqueness of the building and the excellence of our education programme coming together to offer a diverse space for use by the whole community.

“It is a brilliant achievement for all involved in the development and delivery of this project. Thanks to National Lottery Heritage Fund and other generous donors, a team of skilled crafts people have created a unique venue and we now have a space for inspiration and discovery, and we are keen to make sure everyone has the chance to use it.”

As the longest standing built environment awards scheme in Europe, since 1959 The Civic Trust Awards scheme has recognised more than 7,000 projects and the scheme has continued in its objective to recognise projects that have made a positive contribution to the local communities they serve.